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Top Places to Stay in the Maldives

Joelle Mentis, Staff Writer

Cheval Blanc Bedroom View

We all have goals, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve pretty much made it in life. If you step back objectively, you’ve achieved more than 95% of the population. Even better, your family, friends, and relationships are in a happy place. In other words, life is good. So what do you have to look forward to? The answer is a lot, which is the beauty of travel. There’s always a new place to discover and a new experience to have. So, if you want to talk about aspirations, you may want to add the Maldives to your list. The utopia that takes you completely out of the everyday. These are the top hotels to remind you that you’ll always have new #goals.

Cheval Blanc Maldives

Cheval Blanc Maldives is where to stay in the Maldives when you are all about top luxury in an elegant and more romantic couple setting. The hotel is part of the LVMH family, and as you would expect from that pedigree, they take luxury to the next level. The resort is located in the Noonu Atoll, a plane ride away from the capital city of Male, and is as private as it gets.

Rooms are contemporary-designed private villas, set both overwater and on the white-sand beaches. The overwater villas feature direct access to the Indian Ocean. Whichever you choose, there are lavish interiors with high-end furnishings, private pools, spacious outdoor terraces, and ocean views. The natural materials and earthy tones give tranquil and serene vibes.

Dining + Activities

Cheval Blanc Maldives has a fine dining restaurant,  Le 1947, that serves a fusion of French and local Maldivian cuisine. Other eating spots include White,  a relaxed beachfront setting, and Diptyque, a poolside restaurant serving light Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

Of course, any hotel owned by LVMH will have a top spa, with massages, facials, and body scrubs. Treatment rooms are set in pavilions set amidst the tropical gardens. Other activities are as chill as it gets. You can explore marine life in the coral reefs through snorkeling or diving expeditions, and go on sunset cruises. Then there’s the hectic schedule of yoga and meditation sessions, or simply chilling on the pristine beaches.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

The Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa is set on the private island of Kuda Huraa, in the North Malé Atoll. This means that you can take a short 25-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport. However once you get there, you feel like you are blissfully in the middle of nowhere. The Four Seasons is where to stay in the Maldives for Four Seasons fans. You know exactly the luxury experience you will get with the Four Seasons, though the Maldives location is extra special.

Rooms are a key component of your experience at the Four Seasons, which include front bungalows, overwater villas, and suites. On the overwater villas, you get the choice of sunrise or sunset views, as you tend to spend a lot of quality time in your  room. This is where to splurge on your accommodation. A number of villas come with private pools, direct access to the beach or lagoon, and even glass-bottomed floors.

Dining + Activities

Food is a major highlight of the resort, where there are unique offerings like  Baraabaru which serves Indian cuisine. The Reef Club focuses on fresh seafood, where the lobster will be some of the most memorable you’ll have in the world. For casual bites, Café Huraa gets your toes right in the sand with its beachfront location. If you’re on your honeymoon, the Four Seasons excels at private dinners on the beach and in your villa.

The extracurriculars at Four Seasons tend to be more active given the clients who stay at the resort. Water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing are popular. The resort is surrounded by coral reefs, making it a hotspot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. There are also yoga classes, sunset cruises, and cultural excursions.  The Island Spa is a haven of relaxation with unique treatments inspired by traditional Maldivian healing techniques.

Soneva Jani + Fushi

Soneva is one of the most unique hotels not only in the Maldives, but in the world. They are a leader in sustainability and a barefoot luxury that does not take itself so seriously, though quite literally. When you arrive at the resort, they take your shoes and you spend the rest of your time meandering the island and atoll barefoot. This culture attracts a unique clientele within the .01% who are in it for an authentic Robinson Crusoe adventure. Hands down, Soneva properties are tops for families.

Soneva Jani is known for its overwater villas, many of which come with their private swimming pools, water slides, and retractable roofs. So yes, you can stargaze from the comfort of their own beds. Soneva Fushi is the more island experience of the two, where there are both traditional sprawling land villas and newer overwater villas on isle. At one point, Soneva Fushi had one of the largest private villas in all of Southeast Asia.

Dining + Activities

Soneva properties take food to the next playful, fun yet gourmet level. They have a chocolate room with ice cream that’s open all day, along with a cheese room. Breakfast is one of the most memorable meals of the day, where many of the selections are made from locally grown ingredients. It may sound strange, but you will never have spinach and greens like you will have at Soneva. The food at Soneva is not only some of the best in the Maldives, but also any top hotel in the world.

One&Only Reethi Rah

The One&Only Reethi Rah is set in the North Malé Atoll. Its location means you take a speedboat from the capital city of Malé when you arrive from your international flight. This is where to stay in the Maldives when you want a chic and modern luxury hotel experience.  The service is both polished but also friendly. We like to think of the One&Only as the cool luxury hotel of the Maldives.

Rooms that are the Destination

The One&Only Maldives has both contemporary designed overwater bungalows and beachfront villas. Many of the overwater bungalows come with private infinity pools and direct access to the lagoon. This is the kind of place that you can check into your bungalow or villa, and spend most of your time in your room. If you’re a honeymooner, this is where to stay in the Maldives for you.

Dining + Activities

The resort offers a diverse range of dining experiences, from romantic dinners on the beach to theme nights at their six restaurants and two bars. There’s Italian, Japanese, seafood, farm to table and pretty much anything else you can ask for.

As far as activities go, they have all the usual suspects like paddle boarding, snorkeling, boat excursions and diving. One&Only also has a soccer field, twelve beaches and three pools, so there’s plenty to do on isle.

Kudadoo Maldives Private Island

Kudadoo Maldives Private Island is set in the Lhaviyani Atoll. What we like about this hotel is that it is a local brand, and the only one of its kind in the world. It’s secluded and intimate, and spans over 15 acres with only 15 residences. They make it count though, as these spacious villas are some of the largest in the Maldives.

Kudadoo is an all-inclusive concept, which covers almost every aspect of your stay. This means unlimited access to dining, a curated selection of wines and beverages, spa treatments, water sports, and more.  Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, Asian fusion, or Maldivian specialties, Kudadoo’s talented chefs have you covered.

Notably, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island is dedicated to sustainability and environmental conservation. The resort is powered by a state-of-the-art solar panel system, making it one of the most eco-friendly properties in the Maldives.

Velaa Private Island

Velaa Private Island is set in the Noonu Atoll. Its selling point is its secluded location, that is a short seaplane or domestic flight from Malé International Airport. With 48 private villas, 17 of which are over the water, Velaa Private Island is known for its super-luxe accommodations. These luxurious abodes typically have private pools, direct beach or lagoon access, and stunning views of the water.

The resort dining is a highlight. Restaurants include gourmet seafood at Aragu to Japanese at Tavaru.  Velaa Private Island is all about well-being, with an array wellness facilities, including the My Blend by Clarins Spa. The island also offers a range of water sports, including snorkeling and diving.

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